A father-of-five pleaded guilty to claiming more than £3,500 in benefits he was not entitled to.

John Bamsey, 41, of Liptrott Road, appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court facing two charges of falsely obtaining housing benefit and council tax benefit.

He had legitimately claimed the benefits when he was unemployed.

However, the magistrates were told that when he found work, although he informed the Department for Work and Pensions, he failed to tell the council of this change in his circumstances and continued to accept housing and council tax benefits.

When Bamsey was interviewed under caution, he admitted he knew he should have told the council, but he said he needed the money to pay off his debts. The magistrates described Bamsey’s behaviour as ’reckless’ but they gave him credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity and making arran- gements with the council to repay the benefit overpaid.

He was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £35 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Councillor Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council, said this case came to light after a tip-off, adding: “When our investigators checked with DWP, it was found that he had started work nearly 10 months previously, but had continued to claim housing and council tax benefits from the council.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for people who claim benefits to let us know immediately when any of their circumstances change. Mr Bamsey now has a criminal record for benefit fraud and has a substantial debt to repay.”